Tombstone of old had five newspapers, and as you can imagine, there were many stories highlighting the shootouts in that wild west town.
On Nov. 14 1882 Buckskin Frank Leslie and Billy Claiborne had a fight outside the saloon
From the Tombstone Epitaph:
Frank Leslie: "I was talking with some friends in the Oriental Saloon when Claiborne pushed his way in among us and began using very insulting language. I took him to one side and said, "Billy, don't interfere, those people are friends among themselves and are not talking about politics at all, and don't want you about." He appeared quite put out and used rather bad and certainly very nasty language towards me. I told him there was no use of his fighting with me, that there was no occasion for it, and leaving him I joined my friends. He came back again and began using exceedingly abusive language, when I took him by the collar of his coat and led him away, telling him not to get mad, that it was for his own good, that if he acted in that manner he was liable to get in trouble. He pushed away from me, using very hard language, and as he started away from me, shook a finger at me and said, "That's all right Leslie, I'll get even on you," and went out of the saloon. In a short time a man came in and said there was a man waiting outside to shoot me, but I didn't pay much attention to it. A few minutes later another man came in looking quite white and said Claiborne was waiting outside with a rifle.
I then went out, and as I stepped on the sidewalk, saw about a foot of rifle barrel protruding from the end of the fruit stand. I stepped out in the street and saw it was Claiborne, and said, "Billy, don't shoot, I don't want you to kill me, nor do I want to have to shoot you." Almost before I finished he raised the gun and shot, and I returned the fire from my pistol, aiming at his breast. As soon as I shot I saw him double up and had my pistol cocked and aimed at him again, when I saw, or thought I saw, another man by him putting his arms around him, and lowered the pistol, and when it was discharged the bulled went in the sidewalk. After I fired, I advanced upon him, but did not shoot, when he said, "Don't shoot again, I am killed," which I didn't but watched him, with my pistol at full cock, as I didn't know what game he might play to get me off guard. At that moment Officer Coyle came up and took hold of my pistol hand. I told him to be careful as it was at full cock. I then uncocked it and gave it to him , and said I would go with him. I told him I was sorry; that I might have done more, but I couldn't do less. He then placed me under arrest.
Billy's epitaph read: "Billy the Kid takes a shot at Buckskin Frank. The latter promptly replied and the former quickly turns up his toes to the daisies".
A few more from the Tombstone papers-
December 14, 1879, Arizona Daily Star
"Last Tuesday night a shooting affair took place at Safford in which Louis Hancock was shot by John Ringo. It appears Ringo wanted Hancock to take a drink of whiskey, and he refused saying he would prefer beer. Ringo struck him over the head with his pistol and then fired, the ball taking effect in the lower end of the left ear, and passing through the fleshy part of the neck, half inch more in the neck, would have killed him. Ringo is under arrest. …. Moral -- when you drink with a man that is on a shoot, and he says 'whiskey,' don't you say 'beer.'"
May 26, 1881, Arizona Daily Star
"Desperado Gets it in the Neck at Galeyville:
The notorious Curly Bill, the man who murdered Marshal White at Tombstone last fall and who has been concerned in several other desperate and lawless affrays in South Eastern Arizona, has at last been brought to grief and there is likely to be a vacancy in the ranks of out border desperados. The affair occurred at Galeyville Thursday. A party of 8 or 9 cowboys, Curly Bill and his partner Jim Wallace among the number, were enjoying themselves in their usual manner, when deputy Sheriff Breakenridge of Tombstone, who was at Galeyville on business, happened along.
Wallace made some insulting remark to the deputy at the same time flourishing his revolver in an aggressive manner. Breakenridge did not pay much attention to this "break" of Wallace but quietly turned around and left the party. Shortly after this, Curly Bill, who it would seem had a friendly feeling for Breakenridge, insisted that Wallace should go and find him and apologize for the insult given.
This Wallace was induced to do after finding Breakenridge he made the apology and the latter accompanied him back to the saloon where the cowboys were drinking. By this time Curly Bill who had drank just enough to make him quarrelsome, was in one of his most dangerous moods and evidently desirous of increasing his record as a man killer. He commenced to abuse Wallace, who, by the way, had some pretensions himself as a desperado and bad man generally and finally said, "You d-d Lincoln county s-of a b---, I'll kill you anyhow." Wallace immediately went outside the door of the saloon, Curly Bill following close behind him. Just as the latter stepped outside, Wallace, who had meanwhile drawn his revolver, fired, the ball entering penetrating the left side of Curly Bill's neck and passing through, came out the right cheek, not breaking the jawbone. A scene of the wildest excitement ensued in the town.
The other members of the cowboy party surrounded Wallace and threats of lynching him were made. The law abiding citizens were in doubt what course to pursue. They did not wish any more blood shed but were in favor of allowing the lawless element to "have it out" among themselves. But Deputy Breakenridge decided to arrest Wallace, which he succeeded in doing without meeting any resistance. The prisoner was taken before Justice Ellinwood and after examination into the facts of the shooting he was discharged.
The wounded and apparently dying desperado was taken into an adjoining building, and a doctor summoned to dress his wounds. After examining the course of the bullet, the doctor pronounced the wound dangerous but not necessarily fatal, the chances for and against recovery being about equal. Wallace and Curly Bill have been Partners and fast friends for the past 4 or 6 months and so far is known, there was no cause for the quarrel, it being simply a drunken brawl."[/quote]
From the Epithaph, "A Fatal Garment", July 25, 1880.
About 7 o'clock last evening the pistol was used with fatal effect on Allen Street, resulting in the death of T.J. Waters from gunshot wounds from a weapon in the hand of E.L. Bradshaw. The causes which led to this unfortunate tragedy are brief. Waters was what is considered a sporting man, and has been in Tombstone several months. He was about forty years of age, powerful build, stood over six feet in height and weighed about 190 pounds. When sober he was a clever sort of man but quite the opposite when under the influence of liquor. Yesterday he won considerable money and had been drinking a great deal, hence was in a mood to be easily irritated. Bradshaw was an intimate friend of Waters but a very different character, being a man of medium size, over fifty years of age and very reserved and peaceable in his disposition. We understand that these two men had prospected together and when Waters first came to Tombstone he lived in Bradshaw's cabin. Yesterday morning Waters purchased a blue and black plaid shirt, little dreaming that the fated garment would hurl his soul into eternity before the sun had set. It so happened that several good natured remarks were made about the new shirt during the day until Waters had taken sufficient liquor to make the joking obnoxious to him, and he began to show an ugly resentment and was very abusive, concluding with, "Now, if anyone don't like what I've said let him get up, G-d d-n him. I'm chief. I'm boss. I'll knock the first s--- of a b--- down that days anything about my shirt again." This happened in the back room at Corrigan's saloon and as Waters stepped into the front room Bradshaw happened in, and seeing what his friend was wearing made some pleasant remark about it, whereupon Waters, without a word, struck Bradshaw a powerful blow over the left eye which sent him senseless to the floor. Waters then walked over to Vogan & Flynn's, to see, as he said, "if any s--- of a b--- there didn't like this shirt." He had just entered the street when Ed Ferris made some remark about the new shirt, which Waters promptly resented in his pugilistic style. After some more rowing Waters went back to Corrigan's saloon. As soon as Bradshaw recovered from the knockdown he went into the back room, washed off the blood, went down to his cabin, put a bandage on his eye and his pistol in his pocket. He then came up to Allen Street and took his seat in front of Vogan & Flynn's saloon. Seeing Waters in Corrigan's door, Bradshaw crossed towards the Eagle Brewery, and walking down the sidewalk until within a few feet of Waters, said: "Why did you do that?" Waters said something whereupon Bradshaw drew his pistol and fired four shots, all taking effect, one under the left arm probably pierced the heart, two entered above the center of the back between the shoulders and one in the top of the head ranged downward toward the neck, any one of which would probably have resulted fatally. Waters fell at the second shot and soon expired. Bradshaw was promptly arrested and examination will be had in the morning before Justice Gray. http://www.tombstone1880.com/archives